This movement was defined in Boston more than 200 years ago, regardless of what any modern group or faction might claim. That's why the name Tea Party was chosen by Rick Santelli and others: It is a known definition, shared and understood to a large degree without further clarification. It is not a laser beam. It is not a sniper's bullet. It is a battering ram. It is a thermonuclear weapon.
The Tea Party movement is not an organization. It is a shared set of beliefs:
Government controlled by the people, not vice versa
Individual responsibility and rewards
Those beliefs are a subset of other beliefs that Tea Party-ers may or may not share. The only time the Tea Party really happens is when those shared beliefs are at stake. Everything else is attempted usurpation of the name.
Can one be a TPer and want to lower taxes, to defeat oligarchical health care, to beat the proverbial doors down so that Congress admits it hears us? Sure. Can those be major things we share? Sure. But it all comes down to limiting the power of local, state, and federal government to control our lives.
Tea Parties don't have to be in FAVOR of anything. In fact, it is one of the best strategies I've seen: Don't demand a particular solution; do reject unacceptable solutions. It is the free market idea: If one has a great idea that meets certain criteria, that idea will win the day regardless of party or origin.
What a wonderful place to be: unable to be effectively cubby-holed by the major players.
What a wonderful way to be: free to terrorize (politically, publicly) the entire political apparatus for failing to live up to the American standard.
Tea Parties do NOT need to be an ongoing force. They only need to be felt when the ship of state is off course. When that course is righted, we don't care if you stand on your head while you steer.